I want to tell you a story of spies. Moses and the sons of Israel are in the desert on the Exodus from Egypt. Moses is at Mount Sinai, he has just received the Ten Commandments from the Lord. After a year at Mount Sinai, the Jewish people pack up their portable sanctuary and come to the borders of the Land of Canaan. They should have entered the land of milk and honey at this point, but the Jewish people came to Moses and said, “Wait a minute, let’s scout out the land first before we enter.” Moses prayed for the answer. Here is the summary of Numbers Chapter 13 and 14:

The people of Israel have left Mt. Sinai, where they received the 10 commandments. After some further travels, they camp in the desert of Paran. The Lord tells Moses to send some spies to explore the land of Canaan, which the Lord was giving to Israel. Moses sends one representative from each of the 12 tribes, including Caleb (tribe of Judah) and Hoshea/Joshua (tribe of Ephraim). Moses gives them explicit directives on what they are to find out: numbers and strength of the current inhabitants, towns, fertility of the soil, types of plants and produce. After 40 days, the spies return to give their report.

The group of spies agrees about the goodness of the land and its produce, but then the reports begin to differ. The majority of the spies go on to say that the inhabitants of the Promised Land are powerful and of such great size that “we seemed like grasshoppers”. They spread these bad reports among the people. Caleb has a different opinion – to take possession of the land “for we can certainly do it”. The people of Israel believe the negative reports and complain and rebel against Moses and the Lord. They lacked trust in God and forgot about all the miracles that God has already performed on their behalf in the recent past (the plagues, crossing the Red Sea, etc.). They said they would rather die in Egypt or in this desert than to go into the Promised Land. Joshua and Caleb reminded the people that “the Lord will give it [the land of milk and honey] to us” and “the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid”. These words have no effect on the people. In fact, they were ready to stone Joshua and Caleb, but this did not happen due to the appearance of the “glory of the Lord”.

The Lord is angry at the way the people are treating Him with contempt. He considers striking them all down with a plague, and starting over with Moses to create a faithful nation. Moses appeals to God and His gracious nature not to carry out this threat. The Lord forgives His people, but there are consequences. The people had said that they would rather die in the desert than to be led into Canaan to die by the sword, and this is what happened to them. Everyone who was age 20 or over would die in the desert- the only exceptions were faithful Joshua and Caleb. The people would wander in the desert for 40 years: one year for each day of the spies’ travels, giving enough time for that generation of people to die. The 10 spies who spread the bad report were struck down right away by a plague.

The people go against God’s judgment and try to enter the land of Canaan right away. God is not with them in this venture, and the attempted invasion fails.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MAIN POINTS TO THIS STORY?

  • Joshua and Caleb and the 10 other spies saw the same evidence but had very differing opinions on taking over Canaan. Joshua and Caleb were yielded to the Spirit of God, so their interpretation of the problem and their approach to the problem differed from that of the 10 other spies.
  • The 10 spies were thinking about the size and the strength of the other army, but Joshua and Caleb put their faith and trust in God and His strength and power.
  • The Lord is with us, even with the circumstances seem unfavorable
  • God’s way is the right way and He will help us
  • Because of the above, we don’t need to fear if we are doing God’s will and trusting Him

Today’s memory verse is Numbers 14:9:

“The Lord is with us; do not be afraid of them.”

I think it also talks about Determination

Determination is purposing to accomplish right goals at the right time, regardless of the opposition.

Determination is looking at insurmountable obstacles as opportunities to cry out for God’s supernatural intervention.

WHAT ARE SOME DETERMINATIONS IN OUR LIVES?

Some practical evidences of determination in our lives today are seen in the following “I will” statements:

  • I will set goals.
  • I will make sure my goals are right.
  • I will ignore distractions.
  • I will not be discouraged by others.
  • I will face problems head-on.
  • I will not play the “Blame Game” (It wasn’t me—Jonny did it)

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BENEFITS OF LIVING A LIFE WITH DETERMINATION?

Maybe It could be something like complete tasks, are not easily influenced by others, can think for self, people can count on, people trust

WHY DO YOU THINK SOME PEOPLE DO NOT DEMONSTRATE THE CHARACTER QUAILITY OF DETERMINATION?

Some possible answers could be: lazy, selfish, lack of examples, too passive, lack of instruction in goal-setting, low self-esteem, etc.

PUTTING DETERMINATION IN MY LIFE THIS WEEK:

Spend a few minutes in personal reflection:

Think of a task God has called you to:

This does not have to be a task within the church. It may be a task with one of your children, or a task He has given to you at your job.

Evaluate yourself using the determination “I will’s”.

Prayerfully come up with an action step to grow in determination this week.

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